Also on the 8th, a Martlet flight off Victorious
saw white flags at Algiers’ main airfield, prompting
the leader to land and accept the base’s surrender.
The carrier planes, in concert with land-based air-power, suppressed the sporadic defense to allow
U.S. Rangers and British tommies to complete the
operation in about 24 hours.
The British expected more resistance at Oran,
and they got it. The French Navy remained bit-
ter about the Royal Navy’s 1940 attack on ships
on the Algerian coast when the Marine Nationale
refused to join the Allies or sail into internment.
Consequently, Fleet Air Arm aircraft sported the
American white star, while only U.S. soldiers
Nonetheless, the British were felt as Furious’s
squadrons claimed nearly 50 planes destroyed on
the ground. Seafires prepared the way by strafing
the area and bagging a Dewoitine 520. Then eight
Albacore, escorted by Sea Hurricanes, pushed
past Dewoitines to bomb accurately before the
mission turned into a fireball. The Vichy men
downed three Albacore, and flak tallied another
while the Sea Hurricanes disposed of the interceptors. Five Sea Hurricanes, however, became
disoriented in reduced visibility, crash-landing in
A prototype Supermarine
Seafire, coded KA970, landing
onboard HMS Illustrious.
The Fleet Air Arm Seafires
and Sea Hurricanes made
their presence known on the
eastern (Algerian) part of
the Operation Torch. (Photo
courtesy of EN-Archive)